The hits keep coming for a team whose players can’t afford to take any more:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 18, 2017
Inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, who was filling in for Jerrell Freeman because a torn pectoral muscle sent him to injured reserve, is feared to have faced a similar season-ending injury, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Losing two starting linebackers in consecutive weeks to the same season-ending injury is on another level I wasn’t even sure the Bears could reach.
Kwiatkoski made four tackles on the Bears’ first defensive possession, but left the game later in the first quarter due to a pectoral injury. His return was initially listed as questionable, but he didn’t return, and was later ruled out. Kwiatkoski started seven of the 14 games he appeared in last season, filling in for Freeman and Danny Trevathan when they were out of action. He played more than 98 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in his starts and figured to carry a heavy work load while Freeman was on IR.
Christian Jones filled in for Kwiatkoski, playing 47 snaps in relief at inside linebacker. The team also elevated Jonathan Anderson from the practice squad last week, but didn’t play him on Sunday. The team also (also) hosted a handful of linebackers at Halas Hall for tryouts, and could perhaps add someone from that mix to the practice squad or active roster before Sunday’s Week 3 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Two weeks into the season and the Bears’ depth is deteriorating rapidly and in a way no one could have seen coming.